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23.1.2021 : 3:30 : +0100

Recent Publications

  • Marking of Firearms and Ammunition, November 2013. Research Note No. 36, Measures and Programmes.

    Download (788.68 KB)
  • Efficacy of Small Arms Control Measures and National Reporting: Learning from Africa, August 2013. Research Note No. 33, Measures and Programmes (also available in Arabic, French, and Portuguese).

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Global Focus

Regulations and Controls








Regulations and controls governing small arms and light weapons, their parts, accessories, and ammunition serve to prevent these items from reaching the hands of those inclined to misuse them. A number of control measures are designed to restrict access; yet, even when the intended recipient is considered responsible, arms and ammunition can be diverted to unauthorized (and irresponsible) end users. Many small arms measures therefore serve to strengthen physical control over the storage or movement of weapons and ammunition. In some cases, it may make sense to remove the item permanently from circulation.

Levels of Action

Small arms regulations and controls have been adopted at the national, regional, and international (global) levels. These different levels of action reinforce each another. A wide variety of actors are involved in the development and implementation of small arms control measures.

Control Measures

Small arms control measures usually target a specific phase of the life cycle of a weapon or of ammunition, beginning with manufacture and extending to domestic and international transfer, possession, storage, and final disposal. Some measures, such as marking, record-keeping, and tracing, intervene at several different stages of the item’s life cycle.


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